Web Strength of Garden Cross Spider

December 14, 2014

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Photographer: Greg Parker
Summary Authors: Greg ParkerJim Foster

The photo at top shows a long, silken thread from the web of a Garden cross spider (Araneus diadematus) taken during a gale (winds over 40 mph or 62 kmph). Despite the strong wind the 3 ft (0.9 m) long thread remains firmly attached to the Scots pine at right and the lemon balm plant at left. Spider webs display incredible strength and stability. Their tensile strength, the largest stress a material can withstand before fracturing, can be about 1.0 GPa, comparable to that of steel. Webs need to be strong and durable in all kinds of weather since they're a spider's meal ticket. The garden cross spider (close up in bottom photo) is one of the U.K.'s largest spiders. It's easily recognized by the highly distinctive cross of pale dots over its bulbous abdomen.